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is a sport that involves descending a slope that
is either partially or fully covered with snow
on a snowboard attached to a rider's feet using
a special boot set into a mounted binding. The
development of snowboarding was inspired by skateboarding,
surfing and skiing. It was developed in the United
States in the 1960s and the 1970s and became a
Winter Olympic Sport in 1998.
crude versions of the snowboard were made up to
100 years before the first commercially manufactured
model, but it is believed that the first snowboard
was invented and manufactured in Utah beginning
in the early 1970s.
claim was commemorated in 2007 by the United States
mint when a snowboard theme was among the three
semi-final designs of the Utah state quarter.
There are also claims that the first snowboard
was the Snurfer (a portmanteau of snow and surfer),
originally designed by Sherman Poppen for his
daughter in 1965 in Muskegon, Michigan. Poppen’s
Snurfer started to be manufactured as a toy the
following year. It was essentially a skateboard
without wheels, steered by a hand-held rope, and
lacked bindings, but had provisions to cause footwear
to adhere. During the 1970s and 1980s as snowboarding
became more popular, pioneers such as Dimitrije
Milovich, Sonny Sini, Jake Burton Carpenter (founder
of Burton Snowboards from Londonderry, Vermont),
Tom Sims (founder of Sims Snowboards) and Mike
Olson (founder of Gnu Snowboards) came up with
new designs for boards and mechanisms that slowly
developed into the snowboards and other related
equipment that we know today.
Dimitrije Milovich, an east coast surfer, had
the idea of sliding on cafeteria trays. From this
he started developing his snowboard designs. In
1972, he started a company called the Winterstick,
which was mentioned in 1975 by Newsweek magazine.
The Winterstick was based on the design and feel
of a surfboard, but worked the same way as skis.
In the spring of 1976 Welsh skateboarders Jon
Roberts and Pete Matthews developed a Plywood
deck with foot bindings for use on the Dry Ski
Slope at the school camp, Ogmore-by-Sea, Wales.
UK. Further development of the board was limited
as Matthews suffered serious injury while boarding
at Ogmore and access for the boarders was declined
following the incident. The 'deck' was much shorter
than current snow boards. Bevelled edges and a
convex, polyurethane varnished bottom to the board,
allowed quick downhill movement, but limited turning
Sonny Sini actually pioneered the "boot and
hook" snowboard design in 1979 which utilized
a carbon fiber sleeker design. He worked to further
the development of the foot bindings of the board
by specializing a set of boots so they would actually
"hook" onto the board. His designs were
later abandoned because they did not allow the
rider to easily snap out if needed. He did not
have a chance to copyright his designs because
soon after their conception he was killed after
falling out of a helicopter.
In 1979 the first ever World Snurfing Championship
was held at Pando Ski Lodge near Grand Rapids,
Michigan. Jake Burton Carpenter, came from Vermont
to compete with a snowboard of his own design.
There were many protests from the competitors
about Jake entering with a non-snurfer board.
Paul Graves, the top snurfer at the time, and
others, advocated that Jake be allowed to race.
A modified division was created and won by Jake
as the sole entrant. That race was considered
the first competition for snowboards and is the
birth of what has now become competitive snowboarding.
In 1982 the first National Snowboard race was
held near Woodstock, Vermont at Suicide Six.
In 1983 the first World Championship halfpipe
competition was held at Soda Springs, California.
Tom Sims, founder of Sims Snowboards, organized
the event with the help of Mike Chantry a snowboard
instructor at Soda Springs.
Snowboarding's growing popularity is reflected
in its recognition as an official sport: in 1985,
the first World Cup was held in Zürs, Austria.
The International Snowboard Association (ISA)
was founded in 1994 to provide universal contest
regulations. In addition, the United States of
America Snowboard Association (USASA) provides
instructing guidelines and runs snowboard competitions
in the U.S. Today, high-profile snowboarding events
like the Olympic Games, Winter X-Games, US Open,
and other events are broadcast worldwide. Many
alpine resorts have terrain parks. The sport has
also had an impact in countries that are largely
without snow, such as Australia.
Initially, ski areas adopted the sport at a much
slower pace than the winter sports public. Indeed,
for many years, there was animosity between skiers
and snowboarders, which lead to an ongoing skier
vs snowboarder feud. Early snowboards were banned
from the slopes by park officials. In 1985, only
seven percent of U.S. ski areas allowed snowboarding,
with a similar proportion in Europe. As equipment
and skills improved, gradually snowboarding became
more accepted. In 1990, most major ski areas had
separate slopes for snowboarders. Now, approximately
97% of all ski areas in North America and Europe
allow snowboarding, and more than half have jumps,
rails and half pipes.
On March 18, 2008 Taos Ski Valley officially welcomed
the first snowboarders to their resort, after
years of exclusion. Founder of Bonfire Snowboarding,
Brad Steward, joined Transworld Snowboarding Editor
in Chief Kurt Hoy, Java Fernandez, Ryan Thompson,
Josh Sherman and a local advocate for the first
The peak year for snowboarding was 2004 with 6.6
By 2008, this number had dropped to 5.1 million
snowboarders because of the weather and what is
called "ski-comeback", quite strong
in Europe. An industry spokeman said that "twelve
year-olds are outriding adults." The same
article said that most snowboarders are 18–24
years old. Females constitute 25% of participants.